Internet and Web

Your internet connection, web sites and services.

Is smartphone tethering secure?

Episode 1360

David from El Segundo, CA
Tiny Hardware Firewall

David tethers his computer through his mobile device, but he's wondering if it's secure. Leo says it's probably more secure because cell phones are encrypted now. Using the Wi-Fi through his phone is a different matter, if he's at a public hotspot. At that point, his traffic is out in the clear and easily grabbed. If he's going to use a hotspot, Leo advises using the Tiny Hardware Firewall and a VPN. The Tiny Hardware Firewall is like a router that then connects to his phone.

Should I pay someone to build my website?

Episode 1360

Arthur from Los Angeles, CA
Website URL

Leo recommends a template based web builder like Squarespace, Weebly, Wix or Wordpress. Squarespace is great because it's free to start out, and then Arthur could either choose a template and customize it, or ask a group of experts help him add functions like logins, databases, social media extensions, etc. It's very expensive to do a professional grade website.

What is the best way to encrypt email?

Episode 1360

Brian from Los Angeles, CA
GnuPG Logo

Brian's doctor is sending him emails that are encrypted. He's supposed to click on a link and then log into GoDaddy to see it, but it doesn't really work. Leo says the doctor is sending the additional security to maintain HIPPA compliance and he's using a third party encryption to do it. Since it's not really accessible to Brian because he's blind, Leo says he should advise them that it isn't working. Leo advises GPG, public key crypto. It uses one key to encrypt, and another to decrypt. Once it's set up, it's outstanding and safe.

FCC Backs Away From Allowing Personal Set Top Cable Boxes

Episode 1360

Ajit Pai being sworn in as FCC Chairman

With the new chairman and his anti net neutrality views, the FCC has changed direction on a rule that would require cable companies to allow users to use third party set top boxes. Leo said it was a great idea, but in reality, cable companies were starting to see the handwriting on the wall that cutting the cable is gathering speed. The FCC has also allowed for zero rating, where you can get free data if you watch streaming from partnered services.

How can I tell if my computer has been hacked?

Episode 1359

Ryan from Los Angeles, CA
hacking

Ryan wants to know how would he know if his computer had been hacked. Leo says that he can always scan his computer with antivirus software and with Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool. In many cases, hackers are getting around that by moving their malware into routers and other "internet of things" devices. This is why updating the router's firmware is vital.

How can I restore my WhatsApp chats to the iPhone?

Episode 1359

Gordon from Los Angeles, CA
WhatsApp for iOS

Gordon has made the switch to the iPhone and wants to know how to get his old WhatsApp messages back on his iPhone. Leo says that it was smart that Gordon backed it up to Google Drive, but WhatsApp says it depends on the phone being used. Since you recover chats from iCloud, Leo has a hunch it's not cross platform. Apple is very strict on how users can access data within the iPhone platform, but it's usually app centric.

Since Gordon backed them up, he can at least access them from Google Drive.

Leo Gets Warning From Comcast for Exceeding Bandwidth

Episode 1359

Leo has Comcast at home and he got a warning that he has exceeded his bandwidth cap of 1TB. Leo says he hasn't done anything different than before, however, and he wonders if the metering is accurate. Additionally, Leo has discovered that Comcast uses a man in the middle scheme and can take over his screen if they so desired. That's bad news because privacy issues abound.